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Strange Origins of Brand Names/ Open Lines

Date Friday - December 15, 2017
Host Dave Schrader
Guests Matt McNabbOpen Lines

In the first half, author and researcher Matt MacNabb joined Dave Schrader (email) to discuss the rumors and urban legends in the dark history of famous brands, exploring the mystery of the cocaine content of Coca-Cola, the Hitler-Henry Ford connection, and why Bayer is famous for aspirin, but began their journey with heroin and the Nazi party. Although regarded as an expert on popular culture, after a conversation with his wife, MacNabb decided to dig into the deep and dark history of some of the world’s best-known corporations. He said that as he began his research, he soon discovered that the verifiable facts "were even worse and more bizarre" than the rumors. MacNabb revealed that Coca Cola was originally invented as a cure for morphine addiction by a man who suffered from the problem because of pain from injuries in the Civil War. Even though it would seem incredible to us now, at the time, he said, cocaine was seen as a "cure-all."

Even stranger and more sinister is the history of companies who began as important industrial giants during the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s, such as Hugo Boss and Bayer. Boss made uniforms for the SS and other officials, and Bayer was a subsidiary of chemical company I.G. Farben, which was notorious for using slave labor and creating the poison gas that was used in WWII concentration camps. MacNabb found that Bayer also invented and named heroin and at first, marketed it as a cough suppressant for children. Although this information may seem startling, MacNabb said that he actually "had a hard time finding companies that didn’t start in bizarre ways."

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During Open Lines, Don in Ohio related his time as a soldier in Vietnam and a night on guard duty when he looked through his night-vision scope and saw a bird that he recalled "had to be the size of a Cessna" with wings so large that they only flapped up and down once every two seconds. Continuing the theme of strange history of corporations, he also mentioned that his wartime machine gun bore a stamp from the Mattel company. Tom called from New York to offer his opinion that droughts and even the recent report of spontaneous human combustion in London is caused by spraying of aluminum particles in the atmosphere. Rick emailed in to confirm that the Mattel company actually did manufacture machine guns, but that they "jammed a lot."

In the second hour of call-ins, Mike from Indiana told the story of his father who saw a car broken down on a rural road. Later on, he saw the same car with the same people standing around it. When he finally stopped at a gas station, the same car was there. One of the people approached him and said "there are changes you need to make in your life," and walked away. A month later, Mike said he died of complications from surgery. Diana in New York state told of a Civil War ghost who lived in her home, which she and her family referred to as "the General" due to his formal military dress. He seems to appear more often during war reenactments in the area. Hayley called from Texas with a childhood story of encountering "one of the most beautiful women I have seen" sitting in her grandparents’ home. She later found out her identity when she saw a picture of her great grandmother.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Friday December 15, 2017

  • Moms
    A Tribe Called Quest
  • Kicks
    Paul Revere & The Raiders

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